UK Creates “First-of-a-Kind” Mariner Syllabus With Industry Input

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The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency says that it has completed a top-to-bottom review of its maritime training guidelines based on input from industry, seafarers and training academies. The process has been several years in coming, and was led by the MCA’s CT&M Program on the recommendation of the UK Merchant Navy Training Board. 

According to the MCA, the degree of industry collaboration in the review was unprecedented. The new syllabus will be rolled out to UK maritime academies by the end of September 2025.

MCA will present the results to IMO next year, and it hopes that the international body will adopt some of the findings as well. Worldwide, maritime training is governed by the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), last amended in 2010. 

“We were very clear from the outset that we wanted this syllabus review to be industry-led and for it not to be the MCA dictating what is needed,” said MCA chief examiner Ajit Jacob. “No other maritime nation has performed a review like this in conjunction with industry and what we have produced is a new collaborative model that delivers the training requirements of every sector within the industry.”

Technological change is part of the motivation for the top-to-bottom review. Paper charts have phased out in merchant shipping service, replaced by electronic charts and the ECDIS. Satellite communications and new automation systems are gradually changing shipboard life, bringing more involvement from the home office in day-to-day operations. 

Soft skills are also a big new area of focus. These “human element” components are integrated into the syllabus throughout, and the MCA hopes that they will help boost seafarer wellbeing in day-to-day operations. 

“A new, continuous review approach will help us to stay ahead and ensure that our cadets are offered the most modern training we can give,” said Jacob. 

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